Last week I decided that I would do a dual-bike day. Lap one of our "test" trail would be on the HG Sweetpot Monogear (23 lb), and lap two would be on my Intense Tracer VP (32 lb, 6" travel, burly). My reasoning was that I'm in poor shape this year, so I knew I wouldn't be able to do two laps on the Mono, but I wanted more riding time, hence the geared bike. It proved to be quite an interesting day.
Set out on the Homegrown for lap one and was laying it down pretty hard (for me). My buddy was following me on his bike, and I was able to gap him on the twisty technical parts and the downhills. As always, snails can catch me on the way up hills. We finished lap one and I proceeded to head to my van to grab my other bike.
Set out on lap two on the Tracer. This was very educational. In isolation, hopping on the Tracer and riding shows it to be a very agile bike that absorbs trail punishment like magic, and it handles very well. However, jumping on it after the Sweetspot showed how every turn, maneuver, etc., is just that little bit slower on the Tracer. My same buddy was following me on lap two, and within the first mile he said, "You were more nimble on the other bike," to which I replied, "Yes, I'm seeing that very clearly now."
So I guess I learned some interesting lessons.
1) You can't hide weight, no matter how good the bike is. And the Tracer VP is an EXCELLENT bike.
2) The Sweetspot suspension design really is quite efficient for pedaling, and the aluminum ones built down to light weight can really be a speed weapon.
3) The price you pay for that is a significantly greater beating to your body, esp at my age. The nastier the terrain, the better the Tracer is. However, that same statement doesn't really apply to the Sweetspots.
4) To me, the Sweetspot is a really good design for those who want high efficiency with just enough suspension to take the big edges off.
To that end - anyone here have any of the long-travel Sweetspot bikes, like a Breezer Twister, Ibis Szazbo, etc? These were 5" bikes, though none of the other Sweetspot bikes that I know of had the extreme forward positioning of the pivot like the Schwinns did, for max stiffening when out of the saddle. I'm now really curious about the Castellano Zorro, esp if you can slap 650B's on there.
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